Sen. Bob Rankin: Summer is time to travel, listen and learn |

Sen. Bob Rankin: Summer is time to travel, listen and learn

Sen. Bob Rankin
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Bob Rankin

My Senate colleagues from the Denver or Colorado Springs area can describe their districts by the streets that bound the communities that they represent. When they ask me about my district, I mention the borders of Wyoming and Utah and the Continental Divide.

Their events are minutes apart, and mine are hours. I’m not complaining. I would challenge any state senator in the country to represent an area as rich in natural beauty and wonderful citizens.

In between a couple of short vacations and constant demands in Denver, Joyce and I throw the fly rods in the SUV and hit the road.

In Denver, we wrapped up a program that I co-sponsor that brings engineering students to the capitol every summer to learn and contribute ideas. I enjoy their scientific approach to policy.  Is “political science” actually science?

Meetings also included meeting with, and getting to know, the new department directors who came on board with the new administration. I’m concerned about some information technology dilemmas that I expect to surface this fall. We discussed those issues and their plans for their departments.

I hit the road to attend the opening of a combined law enforcement center in Steamboat Springs. A great partnership between county and city to combine resources.

Then driving over to Craig for a visit by state officials to help the town with the transition from a coal-based economy to ?.

Rangely was the next destination where the aviation school at Colorado Northwest Community College is adding a seaplane component to their already excellent program. I was able to ride with students in two of the airplanes. One plane was flown from land and the other from a seaplane in the Kenney Reservoir.

On the next trip, I visited a lodge owner in Grand Lake who is suffering a loss of business to short-term rentals. What should we do about the unfairness of the different taxes paid by commercial enterprises and those paid by short-term rentals?

With the mayor of Granby, I saw a fantastic development that includes a resort complex and also provides affordable housing to residents.  A unique local solution to the housing needs of a resort town.

Back in Denver, the Joint Budget Committee held a day of interviews for a new staff director. Our current director is leaving after 22 years, so it’s a significant change for us.

And in Denver there was a meeting with Colorado Counties Inc. They represent and coordinate the needs of the county governments throughout the state. I rely on them every session to advocate and testify on behalf of rural and western Colorado.

We are preparing for a meeting of the Education Leadership Council that I co-chair. We will be emphasizing four initiatives for next year and will be working with education committees and other legislators to influence new legislation again during the next session.

Off to wonderful Breckinridge to attend the Rural School Alliance portion of the Colorado Association of School Executives conference. I’ll continue to find ways to fund and support our rural and often small districts.

Joyce and I attended an event for Asendigo, one of our favorite hometown institutions that takes care of children and adults who have autism. Asendigo has a great group of parents and supporters.

That’s roughly half of last month’s meetings and visits, so you see this part-time job has turned into a passion, no longer a mere interest. This narrative does not, by the way, include Joyce’s work on the State Board of Education.

As we prepare for the next session and the budget work starting in November, get your issue on my list. But remember — smaller government, individual freedom, free markets.

Senator Bob Rankin represents Garfield, Rio Blanco, Moffat, Routt, Grand, Jackson and Summit counties.

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